Jan DeSarno

Jan DeSarno stands with a red maple in “Dinosaur Land.”

Since the beginning of time, trees have furnished life’s living essential elements of food and oxygen.

The Burlington Garden Club responded to the challenge and opportunity from the National Garden Club’s President Gay Austin “to improve our observation of our diverse environments” and encouragement of club members across the United States to plant native trees in their neighborhoods.

The members of the Burlington Garden Club forged ahead to find a special native tree.

The journey began consulting with Dr. Mark Starrett, whose areas of expertise in horticulture, plant pathology and wood ornaments at the University of Vermont helped members to select and purchase a native red maple tree “Red Sunset” from a local garden supply.

The red sunset maple tree has a superior fall color with leaves of vibrant shades of red and orange. Clusters of showy red flowers appear in early spring before the leaves appear.

Interesting also are the silver bark and the red brick branches.

A decision was made by club members to plant the new red maple tree in the Vermont Garden Park to shade children playing in “Dinosaur Land.”

Jan DeSarno, club co-president, consulted with the South Burlington city arborist Andrew Noonan for expert advice on planting, soil and location.

His recommendation was to move the Dinosaur sand pit to a new location.

The placement of the tree in a perfect location made it adaptable to sunlight, soil type and the tree’s preference for acidic soil.

The tree’s ability to grow approximately 50 feet and a high canopy of spreading branches 40 feet is the perfect covering for the many children visiting and playing at Dinosaur Land. A special and happy tree was planted on Sept. 4 by the South Burlington Parks and Recreational department crew and watered over the remainder of the fall by the Burlington Garden Club members.

The purchase of the tree was from the Burlington Garden Club funds. The maintenance of the tree will be part of the volunteer work of the Burlington Garden Clubmembers.

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